As we gear up for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer, Attorney General Austin Knudsen and the Montana Highway Patrol are giving us a heads-up to keep it safe on the roads. This weekend marks the start of the "100 Deadliest Days of Summer," and state troopers are stepping up their game to keep our highways safe from drunk and drugged drivers.

Highway fatalities in Montana are already trending higher than in 2023.

The numbers don't lie, and they’re looking a bit scary this year. According to a press release from the AG's office, we've already seen a rise in crashes and fatalities compared to last year. From January 1 through May 20, there were 62 traffic deaths in Montana, a whopping 15 percent increase from the same period in 2023.

Even more alarming, alcohol-related traffic deaths have shot up by 30 percent, and speed-related fatalities are up by 20 percent.

Prot Tachapanit
Prot Tachapanit

Observing the basics makes everyone safer on Montana roads.

Knudsen is urging everyone to play it safe: “With the rise in road fatalities, it’s crucial to be a responsible driver. Enjoy your summer with friends and family, but follow all traffic laws and avoid driving under the influence,” he said. “Let’s all do our part to ensure everyone gets to their destination safely.”

Credit Michael Foth, TSM
Credit Michael Foth, TSM
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Colonel Kurt Sager of the MHP echoed these sentiments: “Expect to see more troopers on the roads this weekend and throughout the summer. We’re here to prevent dangerous situations and keep Montana’s roads safe."

On the Car Crash Traffic Accident Scene: Rescue Team of Firefighters Pull Female Victim out of Rollover Vehicle, They Use Stretchers Carefully, Hand Her Over to Paramedics who Perform First Aid
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here's a quick rundown of simple yet life-saving tips to ensure everyone enjoys a fabulous and safe summer.

1. Slow Down and Follow the Speed Limit. The posted speed limit is for ideal conditions. Adjust your speed when there’s traffic, bad weather, or tricky road conditions.

2. Don't Drive Impaired. Drugs and alcohol significantly impair your driving abilities. Montana is #1 in the US for impaired driving fatalities. Don’t risk it—driving drunk, stoned, or on certain medications can ruin your life and the lives of others.

3. Wear Your Seatbelt. Seatbelts are your best defense in a crash. Think of them as your cheapest life insurance policy.

Buckle up, slow down, and make smart choices. Have a fantastic and safe summer, Montana.

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